There are numerous ways to build a website or build a blog. There are, however, some  ways that are better, easier, more scalable than others.

Let’s take a look at the various options:

 

Choosing a Website Platform

The best ways to build a website these days are to use either a Content Management System (self-hosted) or a website builder (hosted by companies).

Hosted websites

Hosted websites rely on 3rd party companies’ proprietary web building platform. They are usually easy to set up and use, but the costs grow as you add pages/features, you’re stuck on their platform, and their features are limited to what the platform offers.

Some such hosted websites are Weebly, WixSquarespace.

Self-hosted websites

Self-hosted websites are open source software which are powerful, free to use and install. The major platforms are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, of which WordPress dominates the scene due to it’s easy to use, powerful to scale nature.

You’ll need to sign up for a webhost (I use Bluehost) to host your website for about $4 /mth. Some other webhosts include Hostgator, WP Engine.

 

Choosing a Blogging Platform

There are actually a number of ways to set up a blog. If you’re a casual blogger, you may start your blog on a free WordPress.com blog or a free Blogger blog, where you can write and publish posts easily. These may work for some, especially if you just want to keep a personal blog, but I do not recommend them if you’re serious about establishing an online presence for the following reasons:

1. You are very limited in terms of customization options – For example, on WordPress.com, you’re not allowed to install custom plugins and themes, not allowed advertising, which severely limits what you can do on your blog.

2. Your blog will be an extension of the free service – For example, your blog name will be myblogname.wordpress.com instead of myblogname.com. Having a professional web address adds credibility to the content you put up.

Read my posts comparing Blogger vs WordPress, and WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.

WordPress

You can build websites and blogs with any of the platforms above.

Personally, I strongly feel that WordPress is the best way to go for Websites and Blogs due to its free software, open source nature, wealth of features, power and scalability.

 

Powerful and Used by Giants

WordPress is used by some of the biggest brand names that you can think of. Here’s some of them.

Notable WordPress Users

WordPress users span all types of industries, and some notable names are The New YorkerTimeBeyonceTechcrunch and a whole lot more.

 

It Dominates the World of Websites

Almost 1/4 of all websites is powered by WordPress (almost 62% do not use any Content Management Systems) as I’m writing this, and 63% of websites built by Content Management Systems (website building software) are built on WordPress.

The dominating statistics of WordPress highlight how much confidence people have in the system, how versatile and scalable it is, and it makes me assured to build my website for the long term on such a system.

CMS Market Share

Wordpress CMS Market Share

 

It’s Free and Has an Active Community

The best thing about WordPress is that the software is given to you for free (open source) to install. Once you install your site on your webhost, your website belongs to you.

The other cool thing about WordPress is that it has developed a strong, active community. Being the #1 CMS has its advantageous – many people out there build tools to make WordPress even better and extend its capabilities. A way to think about these tools as apps on your smartphone – it makes your smartphone much better.

Some cool tools that people have built include forums, galleries, portfolios, videos, social plugins, opt in forms, security, backup, e-commerce and much more. The possibilities are limitless. Many of these tools are given away for free, while some are premium tools for sale.

 

You Truly Own Your Site

This is important as there are hosted websites out there that builds your website on their proprietary system, but charges you more as you add more pages or features. You don’t really have a choice once you are on their platform but to upgrade, and you’re limited by what they offer as they may not have every capability that you want.

For WordPress, your site fully belongs to you, and you can easily add unlimited pages or new features like videos, galleries, social tools as technologies change and the vibrant community churns out new tools faster than you can try them.

 

What Types of Website Can I Build on WordPress?

WordPress is the gold standard for blogging, but it is also perfect for the following situations:

  • Portfolio
  • Personal sites
  • Business sites
  • News sites
  • Personal Blog
  • And others…

WordPress is also a great platform to sell physical and digital products, in addition to the content you produce. If you’re looking to build a full-fledged Online Store though, I’ll recommend something else instead.

 

Getting Started

You will notice on my Build Website or Blog Guide that it covers the start to finish of building a WordPress site.

There are obviously other ways you can build a website or blog (that I’ve mentioned above) which you can feel free to use. In my opinion, WordPress is the best platform out there for beginners that balances ease of use, power, cost and scalability, and I provide email support for people who are trying to do so.